NASCAR America Fantasy League: 10 Best at Chicagoland in last three years

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The Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBSCN) begins a fresh 10-race segment of the NASCAR America Fantasy Live game and anyone who was slow to jump on the Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch bandwagon during the last go-around have a new opportunity to ride those ponies until they go lame.

Simple, right?

Not so fast. Harvick was one of the top-five points earners only six times in the last 10 races. Busch was among the five best on seven occasions, and knowing when to leave them in the garage was critical because it allowed players to take a dark horse that might have been overlooked.

This week, Busch has only the ninth-best three-year average. Harvick is 17th on the chart – because of an accident in 2015 and an uncharacteristic 20th in 2016. Of course, that doesn’t mean much when they enter this weekend with as much momentum as they have shown.

Success predicts success in a NASCAR race and the top five this week should all be considered as fillers alongside Harvick and Busch in the NASCAR America Fantasy Live roster.

1. Chase Elliott (three-year average: 2.50 in two starts)
This is not the first time this season that Elliott has come to a track with a perfect record. Most experts expect him to win sometime in 2018, but that is not going to happen until Chevrolet finds the magic formula in regard to their aero package.

2. Denny Hamlin (three-year average: 3.67)
Hamlin’s top-10 streak actually extends to four seasons. He has not finished worse than sixth since 2014 and given that he is part of the Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut that has dominated with his teammate Kyle Busch, he has a better opportunity to visit Victory Lane than any other winless driver.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (three-year average: 5.00)
Forget about Truex’s average finish of fifth in the last three years and concentrate on his back-to-back wins in 2016 and 2017. He’s also won two of the last three races this season, which means he has more momentum than anyone else in the field.

3. Joey Logano (three-year average: 5.00)
Team Penske has been perfect in regard to top-10 finishes in the last four years. Logano has not yet won – and with Harvick and Busch in the field, he is not likely to on Sunday either – but his second-place finish in 2016 and a fourth in 2014 makes him a solid fantasy pick.

5. Brad Keselowski (three-year average: 6.33)
In terms of predictability, it doesn’t get much better than Keselowski’s Chicagoland record of seven straight top 10s. Two of these were wins (2012 and 2014) and all of them were eighth or better. Keselowski is overdue for a win because he has not gone this far into the season without one since 2013.

6. Ryan Blaney (three-year average: 7.50 in two starts)
When a driver debuts at a track with a top-five finish, it generally indicates that he will run well there for the rest of his career. Blaney slipped to 11th last year after finishing fourth in his rookie run in 2016, but he’s in even better equipment this year and should easily land in the single digits again.

7. Kyle Larson (three-year average: 10.00)
By now, the reader has noticed a trend. There aren’t very many true dark horses to be had on 1.5-mile tracks in general and Chicagoland in particular. That works out just fine considering that most of the top-named drivers other than Harvick and Busch have virtually equal odds of winning.

8. Jimmie Johnson (three-year average: 10.33)
Once the king of the 1.5-mile tracks, Johnson’s fall from grace has been difficult for his fans. It also plays havoc with traditional methods of handicapping races. For now, keep ignoring him from a fantasy NASCAR perspective and use him only if Chevrolet turns their season around in the next 10 races.

9. Kyle Busch (three-year average: 10.67)
Busch’s three-year average is skewed by an uncharacteristic 15th-place finish last year. But, even before then he had not scored a top five in three seasons. That doesn’t really matter this week, however, because he’s won two of the five races on this track type and is not going to slow down.

10. Kurt Busch (three-year average: 11.67)
Busch has only one top-10 finish in the last three years, but a third in 2015 was good enough to offset his 13th in 2016 and a 19th last year. The tiebreaker goes to this season’s record, and with four results of seventh or eighth in five races on 1.5-mile tracks, he demands close attention in practice and qualification.

Bonus Picks

Pole Winner: Three of the last four Chicagoland races have had qualification canceled because of weather, which doesn’t give players much data to consider. Kyle Busch won last year’s pole, however, and took the top spot at Charlotte and Atlanta earlier this season, so he is the driver mostly like to be fastest in time trials this week.

Segment Winners: Does one really have to ask who the most likely segment winners will be? Flip a coin between Harvick and Busch and hope that Fate is smiling.

For more Fantasy NASCAR coverage, check out Rotoworld.com and follow Dan Beaver (@FantasyRace) on Twitter.

Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.

 

Fans not allowed at Las Vegas races

Fans not allowed
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Spectators will be not be allowed for any of the NASCAR playoff races next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track announced Friday night.

A press release said only essential personnel will be allowed to attend the Cup, Xfinity and Truck playoff races there.

“To say we’re disappointed that we will conduct the South Point 400 playoff weekend without fans would be a gross understatement,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Our staff has been working – many of them remotely – since the February Pennzoil 400 to prepare the speedway for our playoff tripleheader.

“But we must adhere to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive that limits gatherings due to COVID-19.  While we disagree with this policy, we have no choice but to oblige.  We certainly regret this situation for the thousands of race fans who won’t be able to attend our NASCAR-weekend events.”

Nevada’s re-opening plan does not permit fans at sporting events, concerts. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced last month that they would not have fans at any of the team’s home games in its inaugural season there.

The Truck playoff race will be at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 on FS1. The Xfinity playoff opener will be at  7:30 p.m. ET Sept. 26 on NBCSN. The Cup playoff race will be 7 p.m. ET Sept. 27 on NBCSN.

Fans holding tickets for those events will be contacted by the speedway ticket services department to discuss credits for future races or refunds.

Pit crew change for Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson teams

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson each will have a pit crew change for Saturday night’s playoff race at Bristol.

The change is the result of an injury to one pit crew member.

Dustin Lineback, jackman for Bowman’s team is out with an injury, the team stated. Kyle Tudor, who has been Johnson’s jackman, moves over to that role for Bowman’s team. Eric Ludwig, a backup for Hendrick Motorsports, moves up to be the jackman for Johnson.

MORE: Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, forecast, lineup

Bowman enters the elimination race 27 points ahead of teammate William Byron, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the second round. Bowman opened the playoffs by finishing sixth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He followed that by placing ninth at Richmond. Bowman was collected in a crash and finished 37th in the May Bristol race.

Johnson, who is in his final full-time Cup season, seeks his first victory of the season. He finished third at Bristol in May.